Monday, June 23, 2008

CA Court to reconsider ruling

The California Court of Appeals is set today to reconsider their ruling that required home educators to have a teaching credential in order to teach their children at home. The hearing pits the California teachers union against the governor and homeschool advocates across the state.

The most notable dissenter was the 330,000-member California Teachers Association, the state's largest teachers union. While insisting that it does not challenge the right of parents to homeschool their children, the association argued that state law requires in-home teachers to be credentialed.

"Parents do not have an unfettered right to dictate the terms of their children's education," the union's attorney, Priscilla Winslow, said in her brief. "A private school is not the same as homeschooling."Winslow said the arrangement in the case before the court - in which the religious school officials visited the home four times a year to certify the children's participation in its independent-study program - was an invitation to "educational anarchy."

Lawyers for the academy, Sunland Christian School, responded indignantly. While the teachers union looks to protect "its members' job security," attorneys at the conservative Pacific Justice Institute asserted, California's $40 billion public school system is floundering.

Even some supporters of public education think that credentialling all homeschoolers is unrealistic.
The 120,000-member California Federation of Teachers supports public schools and standards for instructors, but "it's not realistic to think that we're going to get certain groups of parents who choose to homeschool their kids to get a credential," said spokesman Fred Glass. "Why create a firestorm, a backlash, that draws time and resources away from the central project of educating children?"
This case began as a child welfare case regarding one family, but depending on the ruling could affect families all across the state. A decision is expected in 90 days.

Credentialing a teacher doesn't guarantee that a child will be well-educated nor does having a child in the public school guarantee against abuses by a teacher. Just ask the Ohio student who was branded by his teacher while in school or the kindergartener who was voted out of his classroom by his classmates with the teacher's support and encouragement.

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